Understanding and Using Symbol Maps
How do I read it?
The map contains symbols that represent values in a data set. These symbols can be of consistent size, shape and color or they can differ (in size, shape, or color) to represent variation of the data.
Reading a proportional symbol map can be intuitive and is often accompanied by a legend. Meaning can be derived from the placement of symbols as well as the lack of placement. The use of multiple symbols on a symbol map is possible,. However, the overuse of symbols (and mixing color, size and shape in one) can create unnecessary visual complexity and unnecessary confusion.
Because some symbol maps use proportional symbols that represent the variable, the location may not be exact and overlapping can be seen. Introducing different types of symbols or colors can provide alternatives to proportional symbol maps and may be better suited for driving readers to the correct insights.